Jonathan hails armed forces for keeping Nigeria together

By The Citizen

President Goodluck Jonathan has commended the Nigerian Armed forces for keeping Nigeria united,adding that but for their sacrifices, Nigeria would have been two or more nations today.

President Jonathan said that the only to honour those who paid the supreme price for the nation to remain one was for  leaders of today,  to watch what they say and ensure that they song they sing will bring honour to the fallen heroes and peace to the country.

The President said this Sunday at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration 2014 Inter-denominal church service, at the National Christian Center, Abuja

Jonathan who reiterated that his personal ambition was not worth any Nigerian spilling his/her blood, urged  politicians to heed the warning of the cleric, Revd. Oche that threats will not push the people to the polling stations come 2015 and without people voting no manipulation of figures will declare one a winner.

He commended the country’s armed forces particularly those that paid the supreme price to ensure Nigeria’s unity and urged Nigerians to emulate their selflessness in their service to the nation.

“I always believe that it could have been worse than this in terms of our challenges within and in the global trend but because of your prayers God has been kind to us.

“Pray for us to always remember our fathers because we are in a political environment and politicians always have ambitions, we really appreciate your prayers”.

The President commended the Archbishop for admonishing politicians in this era of camping and decamping.

“The Armed Forces Remembrance Day is a unique occasion but this year’s programme is even more unique because 1st January this year Nigeria marked 100 years as a nation, its not easy to get there.

“There were a lot of challenges. For us to have reached 100 years some people paid dearly for it, some people worked for it.

“The first group of people we can remember that worked and paid dearly for it are the armed forces. You know the challenges they had to face during the civil war, but for them we wouldn’t have celebrated the Centenary, Nigeria would have been two or more nations by now. But they worked for it, some died in the process, some died serving the world outside.  These are the people we are remembering today.

“We also have to emulate them. Those who have paid supreme sacrifice to keep our nation together, those of us who are alive especially leaders today, the only way to honour them is to watch whatever we say, whatever song we sing should be a song that will bring honour to them and peace to this country.

“Sometimes I get worried when I listen to provocative statements that come from very senior citizens. People that ordinarily you perceive are very senior citizens. People who are probably 70 or 80 years who have seen it all who ordinarily should know the unity of this country is more important than the interest of any individual.  Sometimes they preach hate and even encourage young people to carry arms and kill themselves.

“I have always said it that any ambition I have at any time is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. I will never ever expect a Nigerian to spill a drop of his blood because Goodluck Jonathan must fulfil his ambition.

“I pray that all politicians should know that there will be no nation if we kill ourselves, just like the Archbishop said if you want people to come out and vote why do you threaten them. If you threaten them people will stay in their houses and how do you intend to win election is it by manipulating the figures and declare yourself a winner?

“So in an occasion when we are remembering those people that have kept this country one for us to be celebrating our centenary we should admonish ourselves the key actors today, we should preach peace, we should preach unity. If all of us collectively talk about the unity and peace of this country then of course all our economic, security problems will be resolved and the country will move in the direction we want it to”. Earlier in his sermon, Most Rev. Job Oche,  titled How do we keep Nigeria one? Noted that the fallen heroes of Nigeria did not just fight for the survival of the nation but for Africa and beyond.

He noted that in spite of the rise and fall in the nation’s history, Nigeria is still one of the leading nations in Africa.

He urged that since the fallen heroes died to keep Nigeria one and their families be taken care off by government and all concern, “because without their sacrifice we will not remain one today.

“We should do our best to keep Nigeria one so that their labour will not be in vain.

“How to keep Nigeria one is by doing our quota instead of criticising all the time. We must appreciate the transformation in aviation, agriculture sector, we must reduce unemployment rates. We must stop hiring thugs to murder opponents in order to realise our ambitions.

“Stop uttering words that will weaken those in authority and we must rebuke those who are power drunk. Speak things that will edify you and me.

“By hating other tribes or religion, this will not eliminate the tribes nor religion. No religion will surrender to the other no matter the hate, the tribal wars is as a result of land tussle etc.

“We must learn to be tolerant of others because God knows why he allowed all to exist. Every religion is meant to build the nation”.

The cleric advised politicians to give Nigerians peace, saying “some of the utterances are sending fears in the spin of Nigerians, and making us anxious of 2015.

“If you need our vote don’t threaten us because none of us will appear at the polling station. Leave 2015 alone God knows what he will do with 2015.

“Political ambition does not know father.  Pray for this nation and stop destroying one another because of ambition.

“Why are you threatening us that 2015 will be bloody? Do you know God rules in the affairs of men? Nabuccardnezar in the Bible did not know but he was taught a lesson.

In this era of decamping, the church has no answer to that because they are also decamping. Whether you decamped or not the Most High God will speak.

“No rebellious group in the Bible ever succeeded, recalled how Absulum rebelled against his father? He died by hanging”.

First Scripture Reading from Psalm 91:1-16, was taken by the Chief of Army, Lt. Gen Azubike Ihejirikan while Second Scripture Reading from Ephesians 6:10-19a, was taken by President  Jonathan

Prayers were said for the President, for the Armed Forces and Peace in Nigeria and for the Legislature and the Judiciary.

Prayers were also said on insecurity,  terrorism, conflicts and unrest as well as for the families of the fallen heroes.

Some notable personalities in attendance were, Senate President David Mark, Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, the President’s mother, Eunice Jonathan, Chairman Board of Trustees of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)N Chief Tony Anineh, Secretary to Government of Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, Chief of Staff to the President and other presidential aides.

Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Air Staff and their wives, DG SSS, Ita Ekpenyong, Comptroller General of Immigrations and the Nigerian Civil Defence Corp, members of the diplomatic, members of the judiciary among other personalities.